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Farrell Blames Slow Start For Ireland Defeat In South Africa

  • SPORT
  • 2 min read

Ireland coach Andy Farrell would not be drawn on the television match official calls that went against his side in their 27-20 loss against South Africa on Saturday, and admitted his team were off the pace at the start of the game.

Ireland had a try by James Lowe disallowed with the score at 13-8 to the home side in Pretoria, who later profited from a Lowe error for Cheslin Kolbe to score, though it seemed inconclusive whether the former was in touch when he handled the ball and therefore play should have been brought back.

“It’s not for me to say, is it? I saw them live and I had a dubious thought about it, but that’s life, isn’t it?” Farrell told reporters. “We will go through the right channels and make sure we do things properly.

“Lucky, unlucky? That’s the game.”

Lowe’s try was disallowed after an Ireland player was judged to have had his hands in the ruck, but his error for Kolbe’s try came when he attempted to flick the ball back into play as it was going out, presenting a chance for the winger to kick ahead and score.

“It was a special play by Kolbe, to chase that ball. It’s one of the reasons they won the World Cup, with him chasing down the kicker in France, but we were slack in not backing James up,” Farrell said.

“You will make your own decision on whether he still had the ball in his right hand or whether the ball hit him as he threw the ball back into the field and his foot was in touch. That’s for us all to debate.”

But Farrell admitted his side had taken too long to get into their stride.

“In the first half, I thought we were off,” he said. “I thought we gave away access for them to be able to play their game. Defensively, we were a bit passive.

“But then the story of the game for me, after some words at halftime, I thought it was courageous the way we defended and got ourselves back into the game.

“In fact, it’s the make-up of this team and history would say it, that even with the type of performance in the first half, we hung in there, we don’t go away.”

The second and final test will be played in Durban on Saturday.

Reuters